It is not as easy to stay on track with healthy eating when you are not the one preparing your meal. Restaurant portions tend to be larger, and the food can be cooked in unhealthy butter or oils. The next time you dine out follow these simple tricks to maintain healthy eating habits.

Skip the Bread or Chips
Resist the temptation to partake in the complimentary appetizers. The bread or tortilla chips will significantly increase you caloric intake and fill you up on heavy starches and sugars. Request that your server leave the free food in the kitchen where it will not entice you.

Stick to Low-Calorie Drinks
Alcohol, tea and soda will only add empty calories to your diet and you have not even had a chance to enjoy your meal. Too many drinks before eating can leave you feeling full and bloated. Stick to water or diet drinks that offer little to no calories and will not fill you up before the meal has arrived.

Eat Fresh
Many restaurants are shifting away from serving processed foods to using fresh ingredients. Not only will you feel good about eating a truly healthy meal, the food will taste so much better. The vibrant colors from fresh meats, vegetables and seafood will make your mouth water. Restaurants that serve fresh ingredients are also supporting their local growers and markets. So, not only are you eating healthy but you are investing in your local businesses.

Design Your Healthy Meal
Do not be afraid to put together a meal that works for you. You may have ordered the healthy chicken, only to realize that it is grilled in butter and served with a twice-baked potato. It is perfectly acceptable to request that the chicken be grilled using a low-fat olive oil. You can also go to places that let you pick your own ingredients for sandwiches and pizzas, like Pickleman's. That way, you can load your meal with more veggies than meat or cheese.

Remember Portions Can Be Huge
Restaurants often serve meals that can feed several people. Plan ahead when dining out. Ask a friend to share the meal with you or order items from the appetizer menu that will have smaller portions. If your heart is set on the larger meal, eat slowly until you are full. Take the left-over’s home and enjoy the meal again the next day for lunch.

You do not have to compromise healthy eating when dining out. With smart choices you can enjoy delicious, nourishing meals at all of your favorite restaurants.

Author's Bio: 

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about family, health, home and lifestyle. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn't writing.